Colony and the Idiot Ball

First off, let me just say that I really like the show Colony. It has good action, a great dynamic between the main characters, an interesting mystery, and neato aliens and stuff. I am, however, getting a bit frustrated with the secondary characters. Resistance, red-hat, whatever – they are bugging me.

Why?

They’re all a bunch of idiots and shouldn’t be.

Holloway: "Wait...seriously? *That* was their plan?"

Holloway: “Wait…seriously? *That* was their plan?”

I mean, I’m fine with Will (Josh Holloway) being better at his job than everyone (given the premise of the show, he could very easily be the only FBI agent in the block), but that doesn’t mean everybody else needs to be such a moron. This phenomenon – called “the idiot ball” – is when a character acts stupider than they should probably be in order for the good guys to win. Ordinarily this behavior is restricted exclusively to the villains in a show, but since Colony isn’t terribly clear on who is ultimately good or bad, the idiot ball gets passed around a lot. Granted, I’m a couple episodes behind at this point (I just watched Episode 6), but it is clearly a trend. Let’s take each side one at a time, here. (Spoilers ahead, BTW)

The Transitional Authority

Okay, so we’ve got a brutal pseudo-fascist militocracy running things for the aliens and keeping people in line. Seems pretty bad and, honestly, it usually is. What I like about the show is that it doesn’t just pigeonhole the Authority as being moustache-twirling bad guys. They have a legitimate reason for maintaining order (dudes: the aliens will just kill us all!) and, while they may go about it in a brutal and uncompromising way, their motives make sense.

Their plans, on the other hand…well…

First question: How goddamned hard is it to find a guy wandering around the streets with radio equipment tucked under his jacket? How is Will the only person in the Authority to figure out when the transmissions are coming. Literally everyone else seems to know.

Second question: So, your esteemed leader has just executed a famous rebel and then you’re going to drive him across town with…two cars. And then you fall for the whole “the road is closed!” ploy? COME ON, PEOPLE – they’ve been doing that shit since Adam West was Batman. Nobody checks up on these things? They don’t plot out a route? You can’t give him a better escort?

Third question: Why is it Will who has to suggest watching rebels instead of just arresting them. Like, seriously, in every cop movie ever made, they do this thing called a STAKEOUT. Do they not have police procedurals in this world? The cops don’t cruise around and beat the crap out of random people until they stumble upon the guy they’re looking for by accident. Well, at least not cops who are actively good at their job.

Fourth Question: You’ve got a very, very talented asset on your side – a woman with actual CIA experience, a real killer. Your security measures for her home? Freaking ADT. Seriously, just just slaps her ID on a thing and she’s inside. No bodyguard. No advanced security. No live-in aide for her bedridden husband – nothing. Hasn’t it occurred to anyone that she might be a target? It’s a little hard to swallow that an assassin masquerading as a low-rent goon could just be sitting in her dining room.

The Resistance

While the Red-hats are a bit dim, they are nothing compared the sheer audacious stupidity of the Resistance. Just about every plan that they try is a complete failure and they are, for some reason, flabbergasted as to why. Except it’s super, super obvious that their plans are stupid. Consider the following:

First: So, you plan on timing drone response time, but it doesn’t occur to you that hitting a food truck in a populated area might draw looters? Hmmm…

Second: You blow up a gateway to another block and you are surprised that they track down the guy responsible? Even when that guy is just hiding at his girlfriend’s house? Really?

Third: So you hit a convoy carrying the enemy leader. How are you perplexed at their possession of firearms? Why aren’t you shooting them with bullets instead of paintballs? Why is the deal you made with some lady more important than killing your enemy?

Fourth: You guys kept more than half your guns in the same damned place? Really? Really? No, seriously…really? And people just hang out there and practice shooting all the time? And nobody notices?

Fifth: Even supposing you overthrow the Authority, what the hell do you actually think you can do against the drones? Seriously, what? You guys can’t knock over a Chevy SUV, and you want to take on super alien technology?

Sixth: “Hey, our avowed enemy is in that building!” “But sir, the door is locked and there’s a girl in there we kinda like!” “Okay, I’ll need four guys only. We will go in one at a time, at intervals. I’m sure he won’t shoot at us. Our smoke grenades? Oh, they just create ambiance.”

Seventh: “We have you captured!” “Okay, I surrender!” “Where is Snyder?” “In the back.” (they go to the back, and Snyder has apparently escaped through the rear door. “Wait…there was another door? D’oh!”

You’ve got to be goddamned kidding me.

Now, honestly the idiot ball usage doesn’t really bother me that much in this show, since the rest of it is pretty good. Hell, the idiot ball is deployed way less often than it is in Doctor Who, so it hardly qualifies as a TV death knell. Still, it would be nice if somebody besides Will seemed to be using their whole brain in this show. Maybe the aliens will.

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About aahabershaw

Writer, teacher, gaming enthusiast, and storyteller. I write stories, novels, and occasional rants.

Posted on March 2, 2016, in Critiques, Theories, and Random Thoughts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Martin L. Shoemaker

    This is why Carol Resnick will no longer watch movies or TV with Mike: he can’t stop arguing with the characters (and the writers) for stupidity that would never make it past an editor in the print world.

  2. I like this show, too, and agree with most of your points. The stupid moves by the Resistance I can kind of overlook, since idealism can make some blind to plain common sense. But the rest of it, yeah.

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